Ina Garten is a Food Network star.
Fans have been bringing the 72-year-old into their homes for nearly 20 years with her cooking show.
Ina Garten is no stranger to being in front of the camera as the longtime host of’ Barefoot Contessa.’
She recreates recipes from her cookbooks, saying things like “How easy is this?” and “Store-bought is good.” Garten says she is simply what people see on the show.
In her “barn” in East Hampton, there is no script, it’s just her.
Since 2002, ‘Barefoot Contessa’ has been on the air.
In late 2002, Garten’s TV career began.
On Nov. 30, 2002, the Food Network aired the first episode of “Barefoot Contessa”.
The show takes its name from the Garten specialty food store that has been running for over 20 years. Before publishing her first cookbook, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, in 1999, she sold the business to two of her employees in the 1990s.
Garten had already written a second cookbook, which hit shelves in March 2001, by the time the first episode of her cooking show aired.
In Barefoot Contessa, Garten cooked simple and tasty dishes as an extension of the recipes in her cookbooks.
Not much about the show has changed in the years since. Garten is still wearing a blue shirt, and the music is identical. She still cooks for friends and, of course, for Jeffery Garten, her husband of many years.
The biggest difference is that Garten has become a celebrity with a huge following and millions of Instagram followers.
Ina Garten’s choice for a “last meal” is completely unexpected
None of Ina Garten’s “dialogue” in “Barefoot Contessa” is scripted
The “Barefoot Contessa” opened up about the inner workings of her cooking show in an October 2018 interview with HuffPost.
“One hundred percent of the dialogue is improvised,” Garten said. “None of it is scripted.”
She continued, saying the only thing that’s planned is when the food goes in the oven.
“We work out when things go in the oven so the food stylist can prepare things for me – those kinds of things have to be scripted.
But nothing I say is planned,” she adds.
So when Ina Garten says “good vanilla” or calls something “fabulous,” she is simply being herself.
Ina Garten admits that even she gets stressed before dinner parties: ‘I say to Jeffrey, ‘Don’t talk to me! “‘
Ina Garten didn’t want to host her own cooking show
The idea of being on television didn’t interest Garten at first. When Food Network approached her about hosting her own show, she declined.
That went on for quite a while, until Garten finally agreed to try television.
Getting ready to film a new season of Barefoot Contessa! #ittakesavillage #cooklikeapro pic.twitter.com/WXeODQRhaP- Ina Garten (@inagarten) March 6, 2019 Ina Garten doesn’t like eating in dining rooms and the reason is so Barefoot Contessa
In a 2017 interview with PBS NewsHour, Garten recalled how hesitant she was.
“Hesitant is the understatement. I just kept saying ‘no’ over and over again,” she said, before adding, “I just didn’t think I would be good on TV. I just couldn’t imagine why anyone would watch it.”
She continued, “Food Network fortunately kept coming back and they said, ‘just try it,’ and I thought, ‘well, I’ll just do 13 shows and then they’ll leave me alone.’ And fortunately, that was 15 years later … I’m still doing it.”
Watch Barefoot Contessa on Food Network and on Hulu.
You can also find full episodes on YouTube.
A look back at Ina Garten’s discontinued Barefoot Contessa products.